Bullet-proof science project could save lives
Published Sunday, December 2, 2007 7:28AM EST
RCMP snipers took aim at Darren Shulte's Grade 9 science project this week, firing at his non-ceramic bullet-proof plate to see if it could save lives.
Shulte, of St. Albert, Alta., created the plate five years ago for a junior high school science fair when he was just 13 years old.
Now, law enforcement officials are taking his invention seriously, with even Defence Minister Peter MacKay showing an interest.
"This is my life right now," Shulte told CTV Edmonton. "There isn't anything else."
The plate is designed to be worn inside a tactical vest by police and military personnel. Unlike other such plates, it isn't made from ceramic or Kevlar.
Shulte wouldn't divulge the materials he used, but the plate has gone through several revisions.
"He never, ever thought for one minute to give up," said his mother, Rhonda Shulte. "That, as a parent, makes you proud in itself."
If he succeeds in getting an international patent for his invention, Shulte hopes to take it into mass production.
At the Spruce Grove Gun Club west of Edmonton last Saturday, Mounties shot at the plate with semi-automatic weapons, high-powered rifles and even a .44 Magnum -- one of the most powerful handguns on the market.
None of the bullets pierced the plate.
"No penetration to back face, only a couple minor dints," said one of the snipers. "Of course, we wore off the fabric on the front, but nothing on the back."
Shulte has invested $75,000 in his invention.
He also has the support of science teacher Martin Baloge, who is now a full-fledged business partner.
Baloge said Shulte's invention shows kids how much they can achieve if they work hard.
"It teaches kids to have a dream, to get someone on their side who can help them live their dream, and stay motivated and stay on top of their goals," he said. "If they do, they can do anything."
With a report by CTV Edmonton's Erin Isfeld